July 15, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

Scotland Enhances Accessibility in Tourism

VisitScotland has taken a significant step towards making Scotland a more welcoming destination for all visitors by appointing AccessAble, a UK accessibility specialist, as part of a new initiative.

This move comes in response to recent findings that highlight the need for improvement in Scotland’s tourism accessibility.

A survey conducted by the national tourism body revealed that only 35% of visitors with access requirements found it “very easy” to navigate during their stay in Scotland. 

This statistic underscores the importance of enhancing accessibility across the country’s tourism sector.

VisitScotland has announced new initiatives to make Scotland a more inclusive tourism destination, following research showing only 35% of visitors with access requirements found it “very easy” to get around during their trip.

New Initiatives to Improve Visitor Experience

The national tourism organisation has appointed UK specialists AccessAble as the official provider of quality-checked accessibility guides, as part of a new inclusive tourism toolkit.

A recent Scotland Visitor Survey revealed that one in five visitors with specific needs reported difficulties during their stay. Common issues included:

  • Lack of lifts or too many stairs
  • Parking problems
  • Uneven or narrow paths and cobbled streets

Around one in ten respondents said they had access requirements such as wheelchair access, disabled facilities or vision impairment support.

Inclusive tourism is an incredibly valuable market for Scotland. “The purple pound” – the term which refers to the spending power of disabled people, and their travel companions – contributes approximately £1.69 billion to Scotland’s tourism economy. 

Around 85% of customers with access requirements check a business’s website when planning a trip, with a lack of accessibility information being one of the top barriers to visiting new places, according to the 2022 Euan’s Guide Access Survey.

This initiative aims to equip the industry with the best resources and knowledge to effectively engage with the accessible tourism market.

Addressing Accessibility Challenges

Marina Di Duca, Inclusive Tourism Manager at VisitScotland, said: “Inclusive tourism is a hugely valuable market and a key part of VisitScotland’s responsible tourism strategy.

“More than that, it is vitally important tourism and events are accessible and inclusive so that we can be sure to extend the same warm welcome to all visitors and help them create special memories.

“The latest Scotland Visitor Survey shows that while many visitors with access requirements find it very easy to get around Scotland there are clear areas for improvement.

“A simple and effective way our industry can engage with disabled customers is providing clear, detailed, and easy to access product information, such as a Detailed Access Guide.

“Tourism offers so many rewarding experiences which we want to be accessible to everyone and our resources aim to provide a starting point for businesses to understand and adapt to meet the needs of this valuable market.”

Dr Gregory Burke, Founder and Executive Chair of AccessAble, said: “We are thrilled to continue our work with VisitScotland, supporting their journey to develop Scotland as an inclusive tourism destination.

“We know access begins online, so having detailed information that people can trust is an essential part of this work.

“We have invested in the Your Accessibility Guide portal and Guided Assessment in direct response to feedback from disabled people and SMEs.

“By working collaboratively with tourism businesses, we want to enable more disabled people to discover all the wonders Scotland has to offer.”

AccessAble has self-funded the development of a Your Accessibility Guide Portal that tourism venues and businesses can visit to find out more about Detailed Access Guides and the assessment process.